I was making great time from the park entrance to the boulder field. I only met a handful of other hikers and none along the hanes valley trail. It was the boulder field though.. I must of taken a wrong turn at some point.. Needless to say, what was supposed to be about an hour took nearly 3 as I tried to navigate the large boulders and thick brush. In the end I turned back. Until next time..
Day 28 (Wednesday, August 22) - 16.5 mi - Rainy Laughs
We’re living in a rainforest. A cloud. A swimming pool.
Water is everywhere.
From dusk until dawn, it rains until I lose track of time and light and all the markers I’ve come to know about the woods.
The rain doesn’t get in my tent per-say but the damp is everywhere. My own breath can’t escape the tent. My own sweat from the day before didn’t leave my clothes. Water droplets fall from the roof.
My goal is not falling behind my new friends. I want their motivation and energy today. Our campsite is blissfully still. Dew hangs on the grass. Mist drifts across the meadow. Water burbles in the creek.
Using the pit toilet up the road is an honest-to-god highlight. A door, real toilet paper, no digging. And let’s be real: when thru-hikers are near a pit toilet, we have to poop ALL THE TIME. When we no longer have to dig a hole, we let loose, literally.
The few hours of not-rain in the morning go unnoticed. Bushes on either side of the trail are living their wildest lives. They’ve grown over our heads and into the path. We push our way through them, sopping wet willows pressing against every part of me like bodies in the most crowded of bars. Each leaf drips onto me, soaking me.
Rain stops and starts, fog rolls in, then strong winds. Through 4 mountain passes, it’s miserable hiking weather but we make jokes about how fun and sunny this is, and we’re continuously awed by the beauty. The laughs warm me. Truthfully, I’m very grateful to not be hiking alone these past few days.
During a ridiculously late lunch, the sun comes out for a few blissful minutes. We all roll the dice, setting our tents to dry. A gamble, but damn we need dry things to sleep in. Our bet is a losing one. The house always wins.
Sprinkles give us time to put things away, then it is a fucking downpour. Hard hard rain. We each withdraw into ourselves, curling into our own worlds in the bushes. I pull my sit pad over my head and back, hugging my knees to my chest to try and keep warm. When the storm is over, we emerge from our solitude, checking on each other then laughing at the ridiculousness.
There’s nothing to do but laugh.
I didn’t know you could find Great Egrets above 10,000 feet in elevation. Perhaps it was because of Sierran Treefrogs which were so abundant at this unnamed lake above Bench Canyon on the Sierra High Route, they scattered like grasshoppers every time we took a step. Frogs are a favorite meal of the Egret. This one found the jackpot.....
It hasn’t hit me yet.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment or relief at being done or anything.
It’s gonna hit me in a day or two when I feel like the zero is over and it’s time to start hiking again. 💔💔💔
Since 3 days I am done with the PCT and I already miss it so badly! Today I visited MEC in Vancouver which is an outdoor store and similar to REI. I felt so much home and at the same time extremely sad. It’s over, the PCT is over. The life is different now. I don’t need to buy camping gas any more or outdoor meals. I will miss the daily hiking routine a lot, I will miss the smell of the trees, the wind in my hair, the stars in the sky and even the hard uphills. I know that I will miss the feeling of being cold soon, the feeling of having to walk to get to water and food. I tell you- I would hike this trail next year again if I would have the time and the money. I am realising now very clearly, what a joy it was to hike this trail. I am so thankful. #pct#pctig#pct2018#hikertrash#thetrek#trekthepct#longdistancehiking#thruhike
Picked up some warmer clothes in Packwood before heading out. We both got sweaters, sweatpants, warm sleeping socks, and waterproof gloves all for $20! So happy! That will make the last stretch a little warmer.
We have been enjoying the fall colors and eating huckleberries as we hike.
One pic is a note in a resupply box my awesome mom sent out. It contained our old sleeping bag liners, for more warmth. Mom also packed some candy and beef jerky from Pettisville Meats. 😍
Last pic is Baby Petes who I miss so much! Mom has dressed him in leopard print and I think he loves it! Lol! I always figured he swung that way.
Today was our 5 month anniversary on trail! Crazy! Less than 300 to go! Canada or bust!
Day 77: Hiking? What's hiking? ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
"I don't think I can do Mount Whitney today," I say. Gent and I are slowly waking up, faces untucked from our sleeping bags just enough to make our voices heard across the space between our two tents. At 14,505 feet Mount Whitney is the tallest peak in the lower 48, and climbing it is usually a must-do for PCT thru-hikers. But with how badly I've been feeling at even 11,000 feet it just doesn't make sense. "Fuck it," he says, having already done Whitney himself a few years ago. "Let's skip it, and then let's use the bonus day to hike super low mileage from now until Bishop." Oh my god, I think. Oh my god: yes. So we take our time at camp all morning - I make hot tea, eat breakfast slowly, and wait for the air to warm up before changing out of my fleece sleeping clothes. We show each other photos from our off-trail lives, which makes me incredibly homesick, but we chase the mood away with a dance party before hiking out at 10:40am. "This is the latest I've ever left camp!" I say. "Me too!" he replies, leading us over the Rock Creek log crossing and back onto the trail. We hike six miles, stopping often for breaks, and then we take a two-hour lunch at Whitney Creek where I nap, make hot chocolate, and work on my Instagram writing. Hiking? What's hiking? Aren't we supposed to be better at hiking by now? We laugh about this as we cover the remaining six miles up to Bighorn Plateau, dissolving into giggles about how much of this trail still remains and how we don't seem to really care? The truth is more complicated than that though, because Gent has decided to head home once we get back up to South Lake Tahoe, which means we only have a few hundred more miles together. He's already stayed out here much longer than he originally planned, and for the past few weeks the burnout has just been building and building and he's ready to be done hiking. What will it be like for me when he leaves, I wonder. How will it feel to hike alone again? I shake my head and go back to pitching my tent. "Not yet," I whisper as I zip up my puffy coat and start cooking dinner. "Just be here now. Stay present. Breathe. And breathe. And breathe."